Below is a list of items you should consider packing in your trail pack:
Even on a cool day and for a short hike, do not leave your vehicle without it.
Always have fresh batteries in it and spare batteries in your pack. Even though the GPS is great, you still need to be aware of your surroundings, where you are heading, and where you have been. Turn around and look behind you so that you recognize the area when you are returning (iit will look different going the other way). It is always a good practice to mark your trail with a stack of rocks or scratches in the dirt pointing to the way out. This may seem redundant, but you just never know… and yes when using your GPS, do not forget to “mark” the position of your vehicle or where you started the hike.
Physical maps of the area you are hiking.
Sunscreen & Chap Stick:
No scented sunscreens. The scents are really nice next to the pool, but they can also attract an assortment of unwanted flying critters. Chap Stick or a lip balm with a sunscreen in the formula is helpful for extra protection.
They are normally used to keep snow out of your boots. Low-cut lightweight ones help keep weeds out of socks and boots.
Sunglasses, Hat, and Jacket:
Protects you from the sun, heat, and cold.
You may be out longer than expected or the exertion may require you to take extra meds.
Great for keeping in contact with your hiking partner. Make sure you have new batteries every time you go out and that you are both on the same channel. Carry spare batteries.
Keep in mind most cell phones DO NOT work in back country. Know your coverage areas and do not assume that your phone will work. A satellite phone would be ideal, if you can afford one.
Don’t forget the spare batteries.
If you get stranded, you can keep warm with a fire, cook some food, or boil some water to make it drinkable.
First Aid Kit and Tweezers:
To take care of any mishaps.
Even if there aren’t many insects out when you start your hike, you may run into an area where they are out in mass.
Those of us who have hiked the washes full of cactus or have hiked the lava fields (that can be as sharp as razors), understand how important a good pair of gloves can be.
Can be a lifesaver. Not only is it a third leg when coming down steep slopes, it also helps going up the steep slopes. Use it for beating the bushes and making noise when walking in areas that may be full of desert critters (that you may otherwise not see until it is too late).
Great for recording your route. If your GPS or maps fail you, you can review the pictures you have taken to help you retrace your steps back to safety.
Paper and Pencil:
Handy when leaving a note for someone to find.
High-Energy Food Bars:
Just in case you are out longer than expected.